Online publication Wine Industry Network Advisor is the go-to resource for the wine business, covering a variety of industry news and topics. As part of its goal to connect and speak with North American wine professionals, the magazine queried a variety of winemakers for a feature to kick off the New Year. They posed two questions, which Winemaker Dave answered… and was included in the coverage! (So he must have said something right!)
In “Winemakers Look to the Future: A Quick 2-Question Survey,” the publication writes, “As we head into 2023, WIA asked winemakers from across the country to share their hopes for the coming year — and delineate what challenges lie ahead.” Here are the questions, and Dave’s answers.
What do you see having the biggest impact on your job in 2023?
Dave: For me, economic uncertainty is likely to have the biggest impact. I’m more than just the winemaker at Bells Up; my wife and I are, literally, a staff of two. I make the wine and host all the private tasting experiences exclusively for one group at a time, so I’ve personally met nearly every customer who’s ever bought our wine. We’re pretty close to our max production capacity and, since we opened our doors back in early 2015, we’ve built up a reputation for both great wine at reasonable prices and memorable, customer-centric interactions. We have an incredibly loyal customer base, which is humbling.
That said, what happens with our business is highly dependent on what happens in the overall economy. Hopefully in 2023, people will continue to travel. But if people scale back their discretionary purchases in 2023, it will certainly have an impact on our business and, therefore, on my job.
What are you most looking forward to in 2023?
Dave: In 2022, 100% of the Pinot Noir we harvested came from our own estate vineyard, which we started planting in 2014. We have seven different clones of Pinot (Pommard, Wadenswil and Dijon 113, 115, 667, 777 and 943) and, while I’ve worked with all of them before, this is the first time everything in the barrel is completely homegrown. As a winemaker, that’s really exciting. While I think I know what to expect from each, I also expect the unexpected — because that’s part of the fun of making wine. I’m looking forward to seeing how our estate fruit develops in the barrel and plays together in the blending process.